William Butler Yeats

Long-Legged Fly

That civilisation may not sink, Its great battle lost, Quiet the dog, tether the pony To a distant post; Our master Caesar is in the tent Where the maps ate spread, His eyes fixed upon nothing, A hand under his head. Like a long-legged fly upon the stream His mind moves upon silence. That the topless towers be burnt And men recall that face, Move most gently if move you must In this lonely place. She thinks, part woman, three parts a child, That nobody looks; her feet Practise a tinker shuffle Picked up on a street. Like a long-legged fly upon the stream Her mind moves upon silence. That girls at puberty may find The first Adam in their thought, Shut the door of the Pope's chapel, Keep those children out. There on that scaffolding reclines Michael Angelo. With no more sound than the mice make His hand moves to and fro. Like a long-leggedfly upon the stream His mind moves upon silence.